WINTHROP — Corinna Coulton literally grew up around field hockey. Her mother, Sharon, coached Winthrop for 32 years and is still an assistant with the Ramblers. On Wednesday, in the season opener against Dirigo, Corinna was a sophomore making her first career start in goal.

Coulton made seven saves, and while she didn’t get the shutout she was aiming for, she got the win, as fellow sophomore Sarah Spahr scored with 6:50 to play to give Winthrop a 2-1 victory.

“I felt super-nervous,” Coulton said. “For a first goalie shutout, you get a green ball, so I was kind of set on that. I cried a little bit when the goal went in, but I told myself, ‘It’s just a game, and I’ll get plenty of shutouts.'”

In a heartfelt pregame ceremony, the jerseys of Kelsey Stoneton were retired. Stoneton, who would have been a junior on the field hockey team this year, died last month from a pulmonary embolism.

“We were pretty tired, but we knew we had to play for Kelsey,” Spahr said. “It motivated us.”

“Every time the ball was coming down here,” Coulton said, ‘I said to myself, ‘This is for Kelsey.’ I wanted to do this for Kelsey.”

Another sophomore, Emily Molino struck for Winthrop’s first goal. Molino’s shot in the circle went off the foot of a Dirigo player on the goal line for a penalty stroke. On the stroke, Molino beat Dirigo goalie Morgan Morrow (eight saves) top shelf on the left side with 23:33 left in the first half.

Winthrop controlled the play for a while, but Dirigo fought back and forced Coulton to make a diving save and a follow-up while on her stomach. On a penalty corner, Katelyn Olsen received the insertion pass and fought to control it before sliding a pass over to Ellen Wainwright. After maneuvering around her defender, Wainwright fired in a shot to tie the score with 10:33 to go in the half.

As Dirigo improved its defense in the circle and kept the Ramblers from making waves on offense, Coulton was called upon to do more to keep the game tied. At one point, she charged out from the cage to cut off a shot by Emma Lueders. While Dirigo controlled much of the second half, Winthrop eliminated the rebound shots and fouls in the circle, meaning Dirigo had four shots and no corners after the break.

“Even though we’re young, I was very impressed with what I saw,” Winthrop coach Jess Merrill said. “They never gave up. We got down, and we had our collapses, but they never gave up on me. I like what I see so far, especially where we had to fill so many spots that we didn’t want to have to fill.”

Spahr’s goal came off a long scramble. The Ramblers kept fighting, and finally Spahr knocked it in.

“Someone on my team crossed the ball over, and I tipped it in, and it went right through the goalie’s legs,” Spahr said.

Winthrop is on the road for its next five games, including a big one Monday at the Carrie Ricker Middle School against Oak Hill. Now that virtually every media outlet in the state has formed a narrative about the team, it’s a chance for the Ramblers to write their own story.

“We’re never going to forget Kelsey, but I’m hoping that this just kind of is our step forward,” Merrill said. “This is our season, it is what we’re going to make it, and Kelsey’s with us the entire time. We have to play without her, so it is what we make it now. I think the girls are ready to just honor her by playing like Kelsey.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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